Now before you all jump down my throat, I know for certain the game has had crunch and is likely going through it right now. A few things have me hopeful though, that the crunch on this game wasn’t nearly as bad as previous Halo titles and many AAA games.
One of which is a quote from Bonnie Ross early last year:
“That’s why we’ve taken a bit more time—usually it’s three years between every Halo—to really do the investment in the engine and the tools and pipeline, and we’re still working on it,” Ross said. “But we showed it at E3 last year, and it is basically trying to create an environment that we can build the game better, faster, and ideally, you know, prevent crunch. I think there will always be with any game, I think there will be times where we need to work longer hours. But I think that we need to be really deliberate with that because it’s not fair to the team, and the team doesn’t want to do it. And so we’re trying to work out how do we create the best environment to hopefully mitigate that.”
She even used the words “crisis” in regards to Halo 5’s development crunch and it looks like the team was committed to preventing that from happening again.
This quote along with the extra two years of development has made me hopeful for the developers health and work style, but it wasn’t until I saw the infinite demo that I truly started to believe her words. We’ve all heard about the horrors of E3 vertical slices, with developers crunching to extreme deadlines and others creating the slice before even creating the game. Halo 2’s infamous E3 demo comes to mind.
With Infinite’s demo, it seemed to me that while it was clearly still planned, rehearsed, and polished as much as they could, it was also completely, well believable. Watching the demo I knew I was watching a game in development and not a vertical slice that would be wildly different from the end product (a la Anthem).
I know this is probably just me being naïve, and I’m sure, like most game development, the devs have gone through brutal work periods, but I do believe that the extra two years and the apparent commitment by leadership has helped reduce the crunch for Halo Infinite.